I can honestly say that I have the BEST job. I get to interact with kids and parents who value the importance of keeping up with American history studies while living overseas.
If you haven’t already, read the blog post where I point to an article about a former Ambassador who talks about how he spent his childhood overseas, but was turned down form the Foreign Service twice because they felt he didn’t know enough about the U.S.
However, we live in age where our kids can keep up with their U.S. History studies with online lessons! I created these courses specifically for Foreign Service kids and have included all of the components required by the Fairfax County Schools standards of learning.
The lessons were designed for students to spend about 30-45 minutes one time a week to complete over the course of a school year. Check out the testimonials page to see what students have to say about the lessons. The say the funniest things and give rave reviews!
Well, I have rave reviews for the amount of effort and enthusiasm that my students put into each lesson. As I’ve said before, these kids are already so busy and involved with their school, community, and extra-curricular programs, but they are still willing to take on the extra responsibility of keeping up with American history! Good job to the all of my students and I also want to give a shout out to the PARENTS who are ensuring that our Foreign Service kids are excelling in this lifestyle.
As you know, I offer a lot of freebies and bonuses to my students, but here’s something for all of you supportive parents-- I want to treat you to a Starbucks coffee today! We, as parents of Third Culture Kids are all in this together. We're all working hard to make sure that our kids turn out “normal” at the end of this adventure. So, to honor you and show my gratitude for your service and commitment to our children, please, if you are in the U.S. (and I’m hoping that the timing of this will mean that many of you are either on R&R or Home Leave in the U.S…) but if you are in the U.S., Canada, United Kingdom, Ireland, Hong Kong, Australia, or Mexico today, then go get a #CoffeonUSHistoryAbroad!
You’ll find the barcode over in the FS Bidding Tools Facebook Group which is a place for all members of the Foreign Service Community to discuss overseas schools, post morale, EFM employment, and much more. If you haven’t joined, request to do so NOW because this gift expires Thursday night.
Citizens of the United States of America enjoy rights that many people in the world don't share. Of course, Americans also share great responsibilities too. The Declaration of Independence and the Constitution are built on and support these American values.
Students in Course E learn about what citizenship means, why we have government, what values the citizens of the United States hold, and the duties and responsibilities of United States citizens.
Even though kids of American parents are automatically U.S. citizens, sometimes Foreign Service kids grow up outside of the United States and fail to learn the basics about U.S. government and history. I hope you are helping your child get the resources and instruction in place so they won't feel embarrassed down the road.
Here's a sampling of some typical questions that could be asked on the naturalization test. Can your child pass?
I’m not trying to rush the end of summer, but the reality is that for Foreign Service families, we have to start thinking about "back to school" right now. Either you have to pick up school supplies to take back to post with you, or you need to get them ordered from Amazon or Walmart asap so they get delivered to you in time.
I know that you would rather be enjoying time with your family at the pool, visiting with grandparents, or squeezing in a few more family vacations so I’ve made it easy for you and have created all of your checklists and put them into ONE download.
This freebie gives you a list of your child’s school supplies, breakfast ideas for each day of the week, after-school snack ideas, and a clothes shopping checklist.
PLUS I’ve also included a 2018-2019 academic calendar that you can print out and add all of the school projects, parents-teacher conferences, and other school-related appointments to it. If you are able to, you should print it out on 11x17 paper, it’s totally worth it!
P.S. Don’t forget to get your props ready for those 1st day of school pictures.
"Let's start at the very beginning, a very good place to start..." Obviously, it makes the most sense to learn history in chronological order. This can be difficult for Foreign Service kids because when you move around a lot, you might enter a grade at a school that is working through the American Civil War, but you haven't learned about the 13 Colonies or the Revolutionary War yet. Also, it's very possible that your International school does not teach the subject of American history at all, so there's that.
There's the simple solution to this problem though: U.S. History Abroad's online American history courses are designed for kids constantly on the move, who would otherwise miss out on learning about the people, places, and events that make up our Nation's history. You know what they say, "A people without the knowledge of their past history, origin, and culture is like a tree without roots."
Today's freebie is a fun 20-question Quizlet for you and your kids to test your knowledge on the history of early America. In our online courses, your child will listen to stories, watch videos, hear songs, and have other activities that teach the historical information that kids need to know, but this quiz is just a little something that I created for everyone to enjoy right now.
Step 1. Click the red button to work through the online flash cards.
Step 2. Once you've mastered the material, change the "Choose a Study Mode" to MATCH and race for the top score. (This is usually the kids' favorite part.)
I hope you enjoyed brushing up on some early American history topics. Keep your eye out for an American civics blog post coming SOON!
We’re only about half way through the summer and I’m already receiving Summer Reading Program forms back from kids that have finished reading 8 books and have chosen their free book from U.S. History Abroad. (It's not too late to join!)
Here’s the thing, and I should have said it from the beginning, but YES, audiobooks count too! In our family, we are rarely in the car without an audiobook playing so I want to share some of our favorites with you. Especially if you have young kids who may not be ready to tackle reading some of these titles on their own.
Do you prefer the downloadable pdf checklist?
To me, the 4th of July is the REAL kick-off to summer. I know, we’ve been having cook outs and late nights for a few weeks already, but for some reason, this week, the week that we celebrate the day when the Declaration of Independence was adopted by the 13 colonies, it’s the main highlight of the summer.
Many of our students live outside of the United and may or may not get to celebrate Independence Day on the 4th of July. Last month’s newsletter had some awesome ideas on how to celebrate the 4th of July while living abroad, but if you’re just now hearing about it, it’s probably too late to get all of the supplies, decorations, and stuff prepped for the activities. :( BUT, why not pop some popcorn and put on an all-American movie for the kids?
Use the link below to download your list of classic American movie titles that are available to rent on iTunes or Amazon Prime. Some are even available to stream on Netflix if you have a subscription. This movie list will give you so many ideas, you’ll be set for your movie nights for the rest of the summer!
In Course D for 3rd-5th grade students, I have an entire section on U.S. Presidents. By the end of the lessons, students will be able to name all of the presidents in order and provide a brief description of their accomplishments.
However, today’s blog post is for everyone! I'm going to give a little refresher on what the qualifications are to become president. These are all questions that elementary kids will know the answers to so I'm sure you won't have any trouble either. :)
What age must you be to in order to serve as the president? (At least 35 years old.).
Do you know who the youngest elected president was? (John F. Kennedy) and how old was he when he took office? (43).
There are also some pretty great benefits that presidents receive:
For example, the president travels for free, whether it’s in a limo, a Marine One helicopter, or flying on Air Force One. That is just “plain” awesome!
The president also gets secret service protection while they are in office and for 14 years after they leave.
Obviously they are living for free in the White House, but did you know that at the end of each month, the president gets a bill for his and his family’s personal meals and toiletries? It gets deducted from his annual salary.
What is the current annual salary for a U.S. president? ($400,000 a year while they are the president and then afterwards, they receive a pension of just over $200,000 a year, plus free postage for life.)
All these fun facts about presidents get me pretty excited to share this week’s freebie with you. You’re going to love it! I was able to license a U.S. Presidents poster with super fun cartoon drawings of each president. It’s yours to download for free for a limited time so click the blue button below to claim yours.
Once you've downloaded it, you might want to try to incorporate some learning games. You could ask your child questions like:
Which presidents were also Founding Fathers?
Who are our wartime presidents?
George Washington (Revolutionary War)
James Madison (War of 1812)
James K. Polk (Mexican-American War)
Abraham Lincoln (Civil War)
William McKinley (Spanish-American War)
Woodrow Wilson (World War I)
Franklin D. Roosevelt (World War II)
Harry S. Truman (World War II, Korean War)
Dwight D. Eisenhower (Korean War, Vietnam War)
John F. Kennedy (Vietnam War)
Lyndon B. Johnson (Vietnam War)
Richard Nixon (Vietnam War)
George H.W. Bush (Persian Gulf War)
George W. Bush (Second Persian Gulf War)
Barack Obama (Second Persian Gulf War)
Which presidents were former Secretaries of State?
John Quincy Adams
Martin Van Buren
Which presidents were born in log cabins?
Ulysses S. Grant
James A. Garfield
Chester A. Arthur
P.S. Were you looking for the answers to the email trivia questions?
- The only president who never married was James Buchanan.
- Whose grandfather had also been president? Benjamin Harrison.
- Who was the heaviest of all our presidents, at over 300 pounds? William Howard Taft
- Who was the shortest and lightest president at 5'4", 100 pounds? James Madison
- Who is the only president to have been divorced? Ronald Reagan
Have you ever considered that two very similar phrases: "Sweating like a horse." versus "Sweating bullets." mean completely different things? Idioms like these are pervasive throughout the English language and play an important role in living in the United States.
To ignore them means missing out on cultural nuances. Many idioms use metaphors or comparisons to make simple ideas more vivid. For instance, to say "You're making a mountain out of a molehill" is a more interesting say of saying, "You're exaggerating."
It's especially important for Third Culture Kids to be able to understand and use idiomatic expressions so that they can communicate with their peers and co-workers as adults. This is why our online courses introduce kids to common idioms used by U.S. based teachers, coaches, and other prominent role models in children's lives.
Take the quiz below and see how well you score. How did your children do?
Last week I shared U.S. History Abroad’s Summer Reading Program with you. If you didn’t sign up and get your printable reading chart, it’s not too late, but seriously, don’t wait any longer because the deadline to read 8 books is August 31st!
Today, I’m going to do a 180 and touch on summer screen time. This is another topic in which I feel like I’m all over the board. On the one hand I’m told, “Let your kids learn to be responsible with screen time. Be generous so that when they are older they don’t feel deprived and gorge themselves or become addicted to their phones…”
On the other hand I hear, “Screens are so bad for kids. Kids belong outside and it’s good for them to be bored all summer long.”
I’m a black and white kinda girl so it can be hard for me to find balance on the issue of screens, but it’s something that I’m working on.
And maybe I’m kidding myself, but I feel like as long as the kids are incorporating educational apps into their foray, then it’s not a total waste of time.
If you’re interested in my 12 educational app picks that range from learning a foreign language to spelling to math & logic games, and of course learning about U.S. History then be sure to download this gem of a freebie.
As a parent to three Foreign Service Kids, I feel like I constantly have an on-going debate in my head and I wonder... Are my kids missing out by living abroad? Now, logically I know all of the advantages this lifestyle affords our kids, but emotionally—I’m always torn.
Did I ever tell you about the time my dad visited just before we departed for Moscow? Long story short, he was worried that our kids would be deprived of consuming Happy Meals like normal American kids so he left us with $300 and instructions to take the kids to a fast food restaurant every week and to make sure they ate a Happy-Meal-equivalent at each place. So, to Wendy’s, Burger King, KFC, Taco Bell, and Chick-Fil-A we went!
That was just one of the times where it sorta hit me that the kids might grow up a bit out of touch with American culture.
Another time was when we returned to the States for the first time in two years. The kids were 6, 5, and 3 and I was looking at the menu at the McDonald’s drive through. I said to myself, but out loud, “Oh, they have Smurfs here!” That’s when our three littles started yelling excitedly “I want to eat a Smurf! Me too! Can I please order a Smurf? I’ve never had one.” I was like, “What are you Gargamel? Smurfs are not to eat!” And then when I showed them the little blue figurines, they were perplexed on why anyone would ever want one. Oh well.
Anyway, these are just some silly examples of why I sometimes question if we are ruining the kids with our choice of a Foreign Service lifestyle.
And, it got me thinking. What do our kids miss out on? Foreign Service kids don’t have a local library or Barnes & Noble that they can walk into and sign up for a Summer Reading Program! When I realized this, I was mildly horrified. A bit dramatic, I know, but am I the only one who LOVED turning in my summer reading slip and choosing a toy from the toy-chest?
The good news is, I realized that this is a problem that I can solve!
So, I present to you the Foreign Service Kids Summer Reading Program! It’s very easy. Read 8 books between now and August 31st and I’ll pop a free book in the mail for you! Your kids can choose from an assortment of fun and engaging U.S. History themed books. How simple is that? It’s so simple that I actually can’t believe no one has thought of it yet!
So use the red button below to help your kids sign up. There, you’ll also find a printable to help your kids keep track of the books they’ve read! I suggest you go RIGHT NOW so that you don’t get sidetracked and put it off until mid-July!!